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Northern Exposure: Exploring Canada

Aerial view of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium by abdallahh/Flickr. 

As we look forward to the AFAR Experiences in Montreal from June 25 to June 29—our Travel Advisory Council (TAC) is sharing some of their favorite destinations in Canada. AFAR Experiences provides a perfect excuse for a longer Canadian adventure, though of course you can go any time you are ready to experience the Francophone culture of Quebec, wander the neighborhoods of Toronto or Vancouver, or explore the country’s vast pristine wilderness. The members of TAC can arrange the perfect Canadian itinerary built around your interests and taste.

Bonne Vacances!

If you are joining AFAR Experiences, you’ll experience the best of Montreal, from cuisine to culture, during your four days there. It can also provide a good introduction to Quebec before you then head on to explore the rest of the province.  Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels recommends driving to North Hatley, an hour and a half from Montreal (she can also arrange transfers). You’ll check in to the Manoir Hovey. “It is a picturesque inn on a lake, with an amazing restaurant,” she says. “From there go on to explore Quebec City. A walking tour of the Old City is easy from your base at the Auberge Saint-Antoine, a marvelous boutique hotel in the Lower Town.”

Betty Jo recommends spending another day exploring the Ile d’Orléans on bike: “It’s an opportunity to experience a rural, agricultural side of Quebec, with stops to sample the berries from local farms as well as to visit the sea captains’ homes in St-Jean.” For highlights of Betty Jo’s itinerary, read her guide and then contact her to arrange an itinerary based around your interests.

Photo courtesy of Manoir Hovey.

Canada’s Emerald City

On the country’s west coast, Vancouver offers visitors a unique mix of urban attractions along with the coastal rainforest and glacial fjords at the city’s doorstep. John Clifford of International Travel Management reserves a room at the 96-room OPUS for many of his clients. “It’s the city’s most luxurious, design hotel. This intimate option in trendy Yaletown is just two blocks from the waterfront,” John says. After visiting cultural highlights including the Vancouver Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Museum of Anthropology, you should also explore the city’s sizzling food scene. For some of John’s favorite places in Vancouver, check out his guide to Canada’s Emerald City and then contact him to arrange a custom trip to Vancouver and beyond.

Photo by Gary/Flickr.

Sound Choice

A trip to Vancouver would be incomplete without exploring some of the stunning wilderness of British Columbia. A 45-minute seaplane flight will take you to Bedwell Sound and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, which, Katie Cadar of TravelStore says, “takes ‘glamping’—that is, glamorous camping—to a new level. The accommodations are in luxury prospector-style tents built on raised wooden walkways and each is furnished with antique dressers, Adirondack-style beds, comfy duvets, and gorgeous rugs.” Guest can spend their days relaxing at the resort and enjoying the meals of locally grown produce and fresh seafood prepared in the open kitchen. But Cadar says, “Everyone should make sure to experience the wildlife viewing from a Zodiac—you’ll see whales, bears, eagles.” Katie’s guide covers some of the highlights of this North American safari. When you are ready to experience the unspoiled wilderness of Clayoquot, email Katie to start planning your trip.

Photo by Katie Cadar.

Island Adventure

The Fogo Island Inn has been much discussed, and photographed, since it opened in 2012. The photographs are easy to understand, given the strikingly contemporary building’s dramatic location on a small speck of land off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. What might not be apparent from those images is the remarkable mission of the inn, to support an imperiled culture as younger residents move off the island.            

Michael Holtz of Smart Flyer fell in love with Fogo Island when he visited. “It is one of the most amazing spots on the globe,” Michael says. “We took a chopper in from Gander and landed 20 meters from the Fogo Island Inn,” Holtz says. “The vistas are spectacular as the inn is at the end of the world. We peered out from the giant glass windows, enjoying the warmth while we looked out over the Atlantic.” While a trip here provides an education in Newfoundland’s environment, culture, and cuisine, it never feels like work. “Relaxing in the rooftop hot tub is the perfect end to a day of ice fishing and snowmobiling,” Michael says. Check out some highlights of Newfoundland and Fogo Island, and then contact Michael to arrange your trip to the end of the world.

Photo by Wyatt Clough/Flickr.